President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the National Coronavirus Command Council [NCCC] will meet with provincial leaders on Sunday, January 10, to discuss the potential of a stricter lockdown being implemented in South Africa. Ramaphosa made the announcement while speaking to SABC’s Mzwandile Mdeje.
“Cabinet will also look at some of the recommendations coming from our NATjoints (National Joint Operational and Intelligence Stucture) and health department. It is then that we will be able to make an announcement to the nation,” he said.
The discussions over whether a stricter national lockdown should be implemented comes after Ramphosa said the government was concerned about the continuing spike in infections.
“In the initial stages of the virus, we locked down the country to prepare our health systems. Our health system is robust and it did withstand the infections then. But now this is now the second wave and we have a different variant,” Ramaphosa said during the interview.
Ramaphosa was also questioned on why a number of COVID-19 field hospitals, which were erected during the first wave of infection in March 2020, were dismantled. He responded by saying that not all field hospitals were dismantled, and those that were close was because of expensive rental fees.
“Not all the field hospitals had been dismantled. What happened is a number of provinces which set up those crentres, they had to hire venues at enormous costs. So, when the first wave seemed to be tapering off, they then went [on] to say ‘Let’s look at how we can save costs’. But now that the second wave is here and hospital space is becoming a challenge, we now know what to do. We should be able to very quickly set up these facilities. We haven’t reached there yet,” he added.
Ramaphosa also confirmed the delivery of 1-million doses of the Astra Zeneca vaccine in January and 500 000 doses in February.
Take a look at the interview below:
Picture: Screenshot from SABC interview